Phil Mayes

Archive for the ‘Intellectual Property’ Category

The Effect of Patents on Drug Prices

Monday, October 14th, 2013

The NYT has a good article on how patents enable drug companies to keep prices high – far higher than in other countries.

For example, with the patent for the older oral contraceptive Loestrin 24Fe about to expire, the company Warner Chilcott stopped making the pill this year and introduced a chewable version — with a new patent and an expensive promotional campaign urging patients and doctors to switch. While many insurance plans covered the popular older drug with little or no co-payment, they often exclude the new pills, leaving patients covering the full monthly cost of about $100. Patients complained that the new pills tasted awful and were confused about whether they could just be swallowed.

Groklaw is Dead

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

This is so sad. Pamela Jones of Groklaw has decided to shutter the site as a result of Snowden’s revelations about email snooping.

I know this won’t mean anything to most people, but Groklaw was a beacon in the IP world. PJ is a para-legal who reported on all the big cases – SCO, Apple/Samsung, Bilski – with realistic assessments and an incredible eye for detail.

Another casualty of our new Orwellian world.

Scarcity in a Digital World

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Great quote from “The Anarchist in the Library” by Siva Vaidhyanathan:

“The fundamental purpose of intellectual property law is to create scarcity.”

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Olympics organisers have warned businesses that during London 2012 their advertising should not include a list of banned words, including “gold”, “silver” and “bronze”, “summer”, “sponsors” and “London”.

Publicans have been advised that blackboards advertising live TV coverage must not refer to beer brands or brewers without an Olympics deal, while caterers and restaurateurs have been told not to advertise dishes that could be construed as having an association with the event.

At the 40 Olympics venues, 800 retailers have been banned from serving chips to avoid infringing fast-food rights secured by McDonald’s.


The Cost of Patent Trolls

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

A paper by two Boston University researchers puts the annual cost of patent trolls at $29Bn.

SOPA and the power of the Internet

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Firstly, there is an excellent explanation of SOPA’s potential impact here. Check out the video in the first link.

What is so striking about this, apart from the breath-taking over-reach of the bills, is the about-face in Congress as a result of the Internet strike. This is the latest example of the Internet providing citizens with the means to have their voices heard. Other recent examples include Verizon backing off a $2 bill payment fee, Bank of America dropping a $5 debit card fee, Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring.

Use WiFi – Go to Jail

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

I exaggerate – the claim is a civil offense, not a criminal one, but this is still a new low for Patent Trolls. Innovatio IP, a non-practising entity (NPE, i.e. a business that doesn’t actually produce anything, but just sues people), is shaking down coffee shops, hotels and grocery stores for payments in the $2,300 – $5,000 range. “Nice business you got there, Mr. Hotelier. Be a shame if a passing lawyer broke all yer windows, wouldn’t it? Just a small payment to Bill Niro, and you won’t ‘ave no more worries.”


Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Groklaw brings us this news.  After eight years, the legal system finally reaches the obvious conclusion.

NPR critiques patents

Friday, July 29th, 2011

An excellent NPR story on patents has been getting attention, and Forbes uses it to argue in favor of invalidating software patents.

Sources of Innovation

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Interesting column in today’s NYT by Steven Johnson discussing his book “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation“.  He describes four quadrants:

  • The class solo entrepreneur
  • The amateur individual
  • The private corporation
  • Collaborative nonproprietary innovation

He analysed 300 influential ideas and concludes that the fourth quadrant is the most productive, which fits in with my belief that creativity is an inner drive, not an outer financial one (see 1st section of this earlier post).